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Why Rays pitcher Blake Snell and agent Scott Boras teamed up

The combination of Snell’s age, talent, experience and the resources of baseball’s biggest agency make a good match, Boras says.
In this Dec. 10, 2019, file photo, sports agent Scott Boras, wearing a jacket with his personal logo, speaks at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in San Diego. Nearly 30 years after negotiating his first contract, Boras worked out $814 million in deals for Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon in a three-day span, part of what is expected to be a $1.2 billion offseason for baseball's most visible agent.
In this Dec. 10, 2019, file photo, sports agent Scott Boras, wearing a jacket with his personal logo, speaks at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in San Diego. Nearly 30 years after negotiating his first contract, Boras worked out $814 million in deals for Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon in a three-day span, part of what is expected to be a $1.2 billion offseason for baseball's most visible agent. [ GREGORY BULL | AP ]
Published May 30, 2020
Updated May 30, 2020

Blake Snell’s change of agents last week seemed odd for several reasons, perhaps most notably where he is contractually.

Given that in March 2019 Snell had signed a five-year, $50 million deal that he was quite happy with, there wouldn’t seem to be much for his new agent to do, and no money to make in commissions off a new contract, until after the 2023 season.

But Scott Boras said he’s fine with banking on Snell’s future to pay off.

Related: Rays will pay minor-leaguers at least through June

“We’re going to invest literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in resources in what we provide the player, and we will not receive any revenues for four years from him, and that’s okay,’’ Boras said.

“We believe in Blake, and we believe in what our resources provide him. We’re very comfortable with him and his discipline and his desire to gain information and grow. So it’s a great opportunity for us.’’

Snell will be 31 going into the 2024 season and could be well positioned for a massive payday, somewhere in nine figures. (And there is at least the possibility, more likely if he were traded, to negotiate an extension a year or two early.)

With a firm that includes experts in performance training, on-field data analysis, mental skills and marketing in addition to business, legal and contractual matters, and an impressive registry and past and current star pitchers who share a bond and information, Boras said they are excited about playing the long game with Snell. Plus, he notes that Snell has a Cy Young Award and only 506 big-league innings, and a strong desire to be the best.

“We consider him an elite performer who is still at the beginning of his career. He’s a guy I’m just very excited about,’’ Boras said. “We have a lot of information. I think our resources and his skill level and where he’s at his career is a great combination.’’

Certainly, there’s some mutually beneficial opportunities to grow Snell’s brand in the interim. The left-hander recently launched a snellzilla.com website with his own line of merchandise and had increased his social media presence. Endorsement/commercial opportunities for shoes (he has more than 400 pair) and video gaming (given his frequent play, and win in the recent players tournament) seem reasonable, and maybe a spokesman’s role for Twitch, the streaming service he sure seems to enjoy.

Snell’s May 13 rant on Twitch about not wanting to play for a reduced salary given the life-risking chance of catching what he called “the ‘Rona” is still his biggest headline of the year.

It sounds like he and Boras talked that over.

“I have mentioned to Blake that we represent some very statured major-league players and we have direction of how we work with them and what resources we provide them, particularly in dealing with issues of labor negotiations and economics,’’ he said. “Blake really understands now he has a voice for him to express his desires. And having an attorney represent you is something that I think is a process he really embraces and facilitates.

“So I think the idea of what Blake wants to do and going forward, I think he’s going to have the opportunity to exercise the usage of all the resources of Boras Corp. so he can best express things in his way. And also in a way that’s very protective and, I think, professionally exercised going forward.’’

As much as Snell says how much he likes being on the Rays, he has spoken excitedly about the atmosphere of pitching in places such as Dodger and Yankee stadiums. And with Boras’ reputation as a hardline negotiator with a penchant for the bottom line, could this be part of a strategy to get Snell out of Tampa Bay?

Boras said not at all; he said "No'' five times actually.

“The main idea right now is that we’re going to work with the team to provide every resource and to make him a better Ray,’’ Boras said.

Related: Ex-Ray David Price gives $1,000 to each Dodgers minor-leaguer

Minor matters

Names were not initially released of minor-leaguers cut loose last week by the Rays (nor most other teams) in what was billed as delayed action of what usually happens at the end of spring. Per other players, two of the 20 or so dropped were pitchers Brooks Pounders and Deck McGuire, late additions to big-league camp. … Continuing $400 weekly stipends to minor-leaguers through at least June was a well-received move by the Rays and noted by players and agents, especially compared to the similarly low-revenue A’s, who stopped paying. … Rays officials will re-evaluate the plan in a month, based on several factors, such as whether big-leaguers are playing and the potential to stage some form of late-summer minor-league camp or development program.

Rays rumblings

Latest mock drafts have little consensus on the Rays’ June 10 plans: mlb.com has them taking Texas prep right-hander Jerred Kelley with the 24th pick, The Athletic projects Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler, ESPN says Miami righty Slade Cecconi (and Illinois prep shortstop Ed Howard 37th), Baseball America predicts North Carolina first baseman Aaron Sabato and South Carolina righty Carmen Mlodzinski. … Among others tidbits, former Rays star Evan Longoria told Neil Solondz on the Rays Radio podcast that he originally wanted to wear No. 6 but wouldn’t meet coach Tom Foley’s selling price of a new set of golf clubs, and he hopes no other Ray wears his No. 3 as “it would be a very special” to see it retired one day. … Rays officials are likely to keep activities limited for workouts at the Trop, with the possibility of pitchers throwing off the mound by Friday. … Outfielder Austin Meadows said one of his biggest shutdown highlights was catching (and releasing) a 130-pound tarpon: “You take a picture with it on the side of the boat, you let it loose, you post it on Instagram and get some cool feedback.'' ... Remember that Roy Halladay-to-the-Rays trade talk at the 2009 winter meetings? Todd Zolecki writes in his new book, Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay, that the rumored offer was for outfielder B.J. Upton and then-prospects Desmond Jennings and Wade Davis. Also, he noted how Halladay had to watch Jays rookie catcher Kevin Cash (the current Rays manager) with other pitchers for several games before allowing him behind the plate for his starts with Toronto. … A sad goodbye to Foley’s, the famed New York baseball bar that sported much Rays memorabilia and served many members of the traveling party, closing for good due to impact of the coronavirus. … Former Rays/now Angels manager Joe Maddon is selling T-shirts ($24.99) and masks ($11.99) to benefit COVID-19 relief through his Respect 90 Foundation; see maddonart.com. … Bidding on the All-In Challenge game-day experience at the Trop reached $12,000 by Friday. … The Rays are 36-23 with a 4½ -game lead over the Yankees through Friday in Strat-O-Matic’s season simulation. ... What a tremendously generous gesture by ex-Ray David Price to give $1,000 to each of the Dodgers 200 minor-leaguers, especially since he was just traded this off-season to Los Angeles. ... Fox Sports Sun has a new show, Rays All Access: At Home, featuring remote interviews reporter Tricia Whitaker did over the last two months with players and staff, and some spouses.